First Busey in Champaign, Ill., has agreed to buy Pulaski Financial in St. Louis.

The $3.8 billion-asset First Busey said in a press release Thursday that it will pay $210.7 million, or $17.24 a share, in stock for the $1.5 billion-asset Pulaski. The deal, which values Pulaski at 180.4% of its tangible book value, is expected to close in the first half of next year.

First Busey said in a regulatory filing that it expects the deal to be 10-12% accretive to its earnings in the first full year after the deal's closing. It should take about three years to earn back the expected 3.8% dilution to First Busey's tangible book value.

First Busey expects to cut about a quarter of Pulaski's noninterest expenses over two years. The company anticipates incurring $22 million in pretax merger-related expenses.

"Pulaski is a highly respected banking company in the Midwest's" fourth-largest market, Van Dukeman, First Busey's president and chief executive, said in the release. "We are combining two organizations with similar values and a focus on customer service and organic growth. St. Louis' size and density will allow our combined organization greater commercial banking and wealth management growth opportunities."

First Busey was advised by FIG Partners and Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg. Pulaski was advised by Sandler O'Neill and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

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